Recently I wrote a post about 3 things I wish I had known before I got married. I wanted to follow that with a post about 3 things I wish I had known before I became a parent, because motherhood is definitely one of those things where expectations sometimes don’t match reality. Hopefully this helps some new or future moms out there. And I would love to hear from experienced moms who have advice to give.
Don’t worry too much about labor– Before I gave birth for the first time I obsessed over what labor would be like and how I could prepare myself. I read every book, article, and forum I could find. But the reality is, if you’re having a hospital birth with an epidural, most of that is unnecessary. The whole process is painful and tiring but relatively simple, and doctors and nurses who help with labor every day are there to assist. You’ll have way more work to do when you actually go home with your baby.
But, it doesn’t hurt to do some research. You should educate yourself about your options in case there are complications. And if you’re planning on a natural birth without an epidural then you should prepare yourself as much as possible beforehand for the physical and mental task you’ll be undertaking.
Breastfeeding can be really hard- When I was pregnant with my oldest son Mason, I didn’t think too much about breastfeeding. I knew that I wanted to do it, but I imagined it wasn’t any harder than just putting my baby to my breast. But when he was born and started breastfeeding the whole experience was incredibly painful for me. And my milk didn’t let down as much as it should have as a result.
It turns out the pain was due to an improper latch that took me a long time to correct, even with help (some people also think breastfeeding with boys can be a little tougher for sensitive moms). I kept going and breastfed for 9 months, and it eventually got much easier, but I regret not preparing more beforehand. Some women don’t have any trouble with breastfeeding. My own mother breastfed my little sister for 2 years with no problems. But for others, it can be a struggle. You should study up on latches and positions before your baby comes. Also many hospitals will send a lactation consultant to see you automatically, but if they don’t, then ask for one. Even if you think things are going well right out of the gate, it doesn’t hurt to make sure.
You don’t need much stuff- I have a ton of baby gadgets for my sons. Some things are amazing, but sadly many things I’ve purchased have gone unused because they weren’t interested. Every baby is different, and you never know if something will work for your child even if it worked for a family member, friend etc. For example, Mason loved his swing but hated his Jumparoo and never used it. Myles isn’t a big fan of the swing. So don’t feel like you have to spend a ton on baby gadgets. Even the things that work only last a short period of time before your baby outgrows them. Babies really only need the basics (and your love and attention) to thrive. Anything else is extra.
Those are three things I wish I had known before I had kids. What are some things you wish you had known? Or if you haven’t had kids yet but want them, then what are you looking forward to or worried about?
Wishing you self- care,